Promotions are a great way to get people through your doors, but they can also be a massive undertaking when managing inventory.
Inventory management is key to success in retail. However, if you’re managing your inventory well, you could avoid having too much or too little of an item, both of which can hurt your business growth.
If you are wondering what steps you can take to manage your retail inventory, here’s nine steps to take:
- Itemise all your products in one place
Having all your products in one place is key to running a successful retail business. So here’s what you need to do.
Create a list of all the products you carry, including their name, stock-keeping unit (SKU), brand, size, retail price and product category, lot number, location and expiration date. Each product should also have an image so staff can quickly identify them. Add descriptions so staff can understand what the product does and how it works. These are also helpful for customers browsing online.
If any details about a vendor or wholesale cost change after you add a new product, update it immediately! Establish policies for keying in stock, and inventory, including who should do it and when they should do it. Schedule regular reviews with team members involved in this process, so you cover all bases.
- Identify where your inventory is located
Locating specific items is a straightforward process if you are a small business with one store. Items are likely to be on display or in the stockroom. However, retail chains and omnichannel sellers might have products in warehouses, in transit or distribution centres, and on store shelves.
Practice good retail management, such as using radio frequency identification (RFID) tags, barcodes, labels with categories and department codes to automate your inventory mapping fully.
- Make it a habit to count inventory regularly
It would help if you counted your inventory at regularly scheduled timings to ensure that the numbers are accurate. As you do stock taking, be sure to account for shrinkage or any damages and returns, so you avoid counting these products in the inventory database. A retail inventory management system makes inventory counting much more efficient since you only need to recheck your data rather than count from scratch.
For example, Qashier Smart POS has an inventory management system that tracks the stocks as you sell. That way, you can set aside a manageable amount of time or staff if you need to track anomalies instead of counting from scratch.
Whether you count daily or annually depends on the scale and complexity of your business. Companies should count inventory at least once a quarter or yearly. Several inventory counting techniques exist, including physical counting (counting in person) and cycle counting.
- Simplify reporting and purchasing
Simplify your business operations using a retail inventory management system that integrates sales and inventory data. For example, your Qashier account tracks inventory at the point of purchase and prompts you to reorder when stocks fall below a preset threshold. An electronic inventory management system can set stock levels for individual products that send alerts for reordering. These levels alert you to reorder before sales are disrupted.
Using a manual system, you’ll need to review which items are out of stock constantly. Manual counting might take a lot of time and effort, so using an automated electronic system is much easier as it will help your business to track when stocks are reaching critical levels.
- Specify a strategy for discounts and promotions
You should strategise implementing discounts to move slow sellers to take advantage of trends or seasonal factors. Be deliberate with your strategy, even if your goal is merely to make space for more profitable new products. Additionally, create a plan ahead of time for promotions to ensure that you have enough stock on hand to meet demand.
- Design a process to receive stocks
Without a procedure, any supplier error or transport damage can result in unplanned stock outages, overpayment or dead stock. So be disciplined about checking incoming orders and inputting data accurately into an inventory system when you receive goods.
First, check against the purchase order to verify the contents match the order. Count boxes and packages to confirm product type and numbers. Follow up with vendors quickly on issues. Make sure you enter the new products into the inventory database and add price tags or bar codes to the stock depending on your needs.
- Create a return procedure
With an inventory management app, managing customer returns is a cinch. You can avoid holding unsellable goods or missing a chance to put a sellable item back on display. When a consumer makes a return, inspect if the item is damaged or defective before routing it for fixing, or a write off, or returning to the vendor. If the product is sellable, add it to your inventory and place it accordingly (in a store, eCommerce inventory, etc.).
- Determine the excess stock procedure
Excess inventory diminishes capital and profit. Deadstock includes damaged items, wrong deliveries, and excessive seasonal products. First, record such items and remove them from inventory. Next, select a site to hold dead stock and review it regularly.
You can also return merchandise to vendors if it’s within your contract. Then, depending on your product line, you can sell the rest, donate, recycle or throw it away if returning to the vendor is not possible.
- Pick KPIs
Finally, if you want to measure the success of your inventory management process, pick and track some key performance indicators (KPIs). According to delivery company USPS, these are some key indicators that you can use to measure whether your company is doing well managing stock. Pick what’s the most relevant to your business and measure accordingly.
Promotion planning and inventory management made easy with Qashier
If you are looking for a way to integrate inventory levels across various sales channels without increasing your staffing budget, it’s time to tap into Qashier’s inventory management. Our powerful inventory management system allows you to manage your inventory across multiple stores and warehouses.
Qashier’s smart POS presents an integrated solution to meet all kinds of business needs with multiple digital solutions, including QR code payments, employee management, customer relationship management (loyalty programs), inventory management, data analytics, and cashless payments, all in one terminal.
Qashier promises a seamless setup within 10 minutes, without any need for technical expertise. It boasts a user-friendly interface that is simple for anyone to learn and use. If you require assistance, you’ll find 7-days-a-week responsive technical support from our friendly Qashier team.